Preventing Heatstroke

Since 1998, more than 940 children have died of vehicular heatstroke because they were left or became trapped in a hot car. It’s important for everyone to understand that children are more vulnerable to heatstroke and that all hot car deaths are preventable. We — as parents, caregivers and bystanders — play a role in helping to make sure another death doesn’t happen.

Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke Academic Stakeholders Workgroup

July 7, 2023: The meeting begins with a presentation of findings in a recent study – U.S. Caregivers’ Attitudes and Risk Perceptions Toward Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke. Emma Sartin and Jalaj Maheshwari lead the group through the results.

Then, National Safety Council Program Manager Claudia Summers discusses a change in the workgroup structure, based on a safe systems approach. The goal: divide into subcommittees and develop countermeasures for response and prevention of PVH. Watch the recording.

April 6, 2023: Jessica Butterfield (National Safety Council) serves as moderator and presenter during the first part of this session. Then, members of the stakeholders group adjourn to breakout rooms to focus on a shared goal of advancing heatstroke prevention countermeasures.


  • Research and Technology (Amy Artuso, National Safety Council)
  • Communications (Tammy Franks, National Safety Council)
  • Policy (Alaina Dahlquist, National Safety Council)

Following the breakout sessions, group members reconvene to report on activities and Butterfield shares closing announcements. Watch the recording.

Jan. 5, 2023: Jan Null and Kristin Kingsley lead this pediatric vehicular heatstroke discussion. Jessica Butterfield of the National Safety Council serves as moderator for the session. Null starts with a recap of PVH in 2022. He is a certified consulting meteorologist and adjunct professor at San Jose State University. He is considered one of the leading authorities on incidents involving kids and hot cars. He manages Kingsley provides an OEM voluntary commitment report. She is a policy and strategic planning expert with a background in engineering. She brings technical expertise and a love of problem solving to the world of auto safety. She operates KKingsley Consulting. After the two presentations, members of the workgroup separate into breakout sessions. Watch the recording.

Full Playlist

If you’ve missed a meeting or want to review an older session, please click here to see the full playlist.

How You Can Help

Safe Kids WorldwideKidsAndCars.orgJan Null ( and the National Safety Council work together with many other partners to help eliminate these preventable tragedies, and we’re asking you to join us. Below you will find free monthly newsletters that include sample social media posts, resources and personal stories – in short, tools you can use to help inform others and ensure that no family has to endure the loss of a child to heatstroke in hot cars.

Heatstroke Prevention Newsletters:

Articles by Dr. David Diamond

While there are three primary circumstances that typically lead to pediatric vehicular heatstroke (PVH) deaths, a little more than half of all PVH deaths over the past 25 years have resulted from children who were unknowingly left in the vehicle. It is commonly reported that in the course of a drive, a parent or caretaker loses awareness of the presence of a child in the back seat of the car. Upon arriving at the destination, the driver exits the car and unknowingly leaves the child in the car. This incomprehensible lapse of memory exposes forgotten children to hazards, including death from heatstroke. Nearly 500 children in the past 25 years have suffered from heatstroke after being unknowingly forgotten in vehicles. How can loving and attentive parents, with no evidence of substance abuse or an organic brain disorder, have a catastrophic lapse of memory that places a child’s welfare in jeopardy? The articles below by Dr. David Diamond address this question.

Children dying in hot cars; a tragedy that can be prevented

When a child dies of heatstroke after a parent or caretaker unknowingly leaves the child in a car: How does it happen and is it a crime? 

Child Safety

Overview: Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash fatalities among children.

Prevention Tips

What You Need to Know, Now

  • Always Look Before You Lock
  • Keep in Mind a Child’s Sensitivity to Heat
  • Understand the Potential Consequences of Kids in Hot Cars

Traffic Safety Marketing: Heatstroke Prevention Toolkit

Remember to ACT

  • Avoid heatstroke.
  • Create reminders.
  • Take action.

Campaign materials

This is a double-sided infographic: Awareness is Key. Distraction is Deadly.Since 1998, approximately 25% of all child hot car deaths have occured in a parked car at the driver’s place of work. Get free resources to raise awareness of safety risks and prevent more tragedies.


Print this color graphic double-sided, then cut the page in half to create two handouts.


This pocket-size magazine has all of the key facts on parking lot distraction and hot cars. Half the fun is folding it! Watch our quick video to learn how:

Traffic Tabloid

Here are two Traffic Tabloid pieces devoted to the subject of parking lots, distraction and hot cars. Download, print and display:

Safety Checklist

This checklist is designed to help parents, caregivers and all those who transport children build safe habits into their daily routines. Download and share:

Safety Huddle

Use this one-page guide to create a safety talk or raise awareness of distraction risks in a workplace setting or at a community meeting. Download and share:

Talking Points

Educate everyone who cares for your child about vehicle heating dynamics, the lure of unattended cars to curious children and the power of autopilot on the brain.

Vehicle Heating Dynamics

How fast can a parked car heat up? Download and share this postcard-sized vehicle heating dynamics graphic. Then, cut it in half and create two handouts:

What Else Can You Do?

This graphic illustration shows the three primary factors that lead to child hot car deaths.

Pie chart shows the three primary circumstances that lead to kids dying in hot cars.

Get up-to-date tracking of pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths and vehicle heating information from San Jose State University Adjunct Professor of Meterology Jan Null:

Share data and free resources

A child left in a hot car is depicted in this image, but technology in the car detected her presence. And she was not a victim of pediatric vehicular heatstroke.Heatstroke

Download these free resources to raise awareness of risks and prevent more tragedies:

  • Child stories
  • Fact sheets
  • Safety tips
  • Charts
  • Graphics
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Sample social media posts
  • Studies

What to Do If You See a Child Alone in a Vehicle?

Videos to Watch and Share

What’s the Law?

Find out what states have laws making it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

  • Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars:
    • Facts about Hot Cars & Keeping Kids Safe
    • Know the Laws in Your State
    • Take Action if You See a Child Alone in a Car
      • What to do if the child is not responsive or in pain
      • What to do if the child is responsive
    • Things You Can Do to Prevent the Unthinkable
  • Protecting Children from Extreme Heat: Information for Parents
    • Prevention tips
    • Potential Health Effects of Extreme Heat
    • When to Call Your Pediatrician

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association is actively involved in efforts to prevent children from dying in hot cars. JPMA believes that the most universal way to avert these tragedies is to equip new passenger vehicles with reminder systems and consider the potential for retrofitting existing vehicles with such systems.

Read the full statement: JPMA Hyperthermia/Heatstroke Position Statement.

Protecting Children from Heatstroke in Vehicles

Watch: Kristin Kingsley, a mechanical engineer and auto safety policy consultant, moderates this recorded webinar. The featured speakers: Amy Artuso, senior program manager with the National Safety Council and former chair of the National Child Passenger Safety Board; and Jan Null, an adjunct professor/lecturer of meteorology at the University of San Francisco and San Jose State University.

Heatstroke in Cars

Keeping Cars Safe for Kids: Working to Prevent Pediatric Heatstroke. This discussion focuses on ways to help prevent pediatric heatstroke through public awareness and technology advancements.

Resources and information, including a voluntary commitment by vehicle manufacturers